Liberal associationism and the rights of states

Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):425-449 (2013)
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It is often argued that if one holds a liberal political philosophy about individual rights against the state and the community, then one cannot consistently say that a state that violates those principles is owed the right of noninterference. How could the rights of the collective trump the rights of individuals in a liberal view? I believe that this debate calls for more reflection, on the relation between liberalism and individualism. I will sketch a conception of liberalism () in which there is nothing awkward about saying that associations, as such, have some moral (not just, say, legal) rights to noninterference. If liberal associationism is compelling in general terms then, if states (or some of them) can be shown to be associations in the relevant respects, then liberalism itself will supply the moral basis for a right of that kind, held by a state or people as such, to nonintervention
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